University Business May 2017 - 29

2010 for a 3.5MW solar installation that
includes rooftop panels on four buildings
and canopies over five parking lots. The installation generates enough power to provide 20 percent of campus energy needs.
The PPA was a turnkey solution: New
Jersey-based Nautilus Solar, which works
on projects throughout North America,
installed and maintains the panels (and
also received the tax credits). The company
sells solar power back to the college at a
rate lower than nonrenewable energy. Over
the last six years, the university has saved
$1.5 million in energy costs, says Bolyai.
Cost was just one of the factors in Endicott College's decision to use a PPA to
fund its solar installation.
"We looked at owning [the panels] but,
as a college, it's not within our expertise to
run a solar array," Creighton says. "It was
a steep learning curve with a lot of regulations; investment aside, it required an expertise we don't have."
Shining a light on renewables
The University of Missouri-Kansas City
funded the $100,000 solar installation on
its performing arts center with the savings
generated through other energy efficiency
upgrades, such as upgrading its HVAC
system from pneumatic to digital controls
and installing LED lighting across campus.
The return for solar projects takes
longer than for other energy efficiency
upgrades. Director of Facilities Operations Randy Shingleton estimates the ROI
on the installation will take eight years
while the ROI on upgrading the HVAC
to pneumatic controls will take five years.
Still, the solar panels make an important
statement.
"The panels are something people can
see and know right away that the campus
cares about sustainability," Shingleton says.
Campuses put forth considerable efforts to spread the word about their commitments to solar, highlighting sustainability initiatives on their websites, developing
green campus walking tours (and pointing
out installations on broader admissions
www.universitybusiness.com

tours) and speaking to the media about the
use of solar on campus.
Elizabeth Bowen, program coordinator in the sustainability office at NC State,
believes these initiatives are worth touting
because of their popularity with students.
"Even with all these other measurements and commitments [to sustainability] and all of the things that we put in

place administratively, we still listen to the
students, and the students say they want
solar," she says. "To them, it's evidence
that we practice what we preach and so we
work within our means to add solar where
we can."
Jodi Helmer is a North Carolina-based
writer and a frequent UB contributor.

??
?

Ground-mount versus rooftop:

Which type of solar installation is right for your campus?

Deciding where to install a solar array is one of the most critical decisions
you'll make. Respond yes or no to the following questions as a first step in
determining which type of installation makes more sense for your campus.

Rooftop installation

Yes No

Are there obstructions on the roof-such as skylights, HVAC
systems or other equipment-that would make it difficult to install
solar panels?

o o

If the roof has a pitch, does it face a direction other than south/
southwest/southeast?

o o

Is there significant shading (from trees or other buildings) on
the rooftop?
Does the roof have a steep pitch?
Is the roof nearing the end of its life and in need of replacement?

o o
o o
o o

The higher the number of NO responses, the greater the likelihood a
rooftop installation will work on campus.

Ground-mount installation
Is the area flat with a limited grade?
Are there access roads leading to the site?
Do local zoning laws permit ground-mount installations?
Is the area sunny with limited shading from trees and other
buildings?
Can the panels be installed without impacting wetlands,
floodplains, streams, and other bodies of water or natural
habitats?

Yes No

o
o
o
o

o
o
o
o

o o

The higher the number of YES responses, the greater the likelihood
a ground-mount installation will work on campus.
May 2017 | 29


http://www.universitybusiness.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business May 2017

University Business May 2017 - Cover1
University Business May 2017 - Cover2
University Business May 2017 - 1
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